]=+ The Clan +=[
“How fair the mount at Hollowbold,
And bright the embers’ forge of old,
Alas their halls the darkness swept,
And there, forevermore, it slept.”
-The Song of Tumunzahar
The Aspects and Mannerisms
+= of the Emberhorns =+
The Emberhorns are fair of skin, with bright eyes the colour of emeralds which shine beneath bushy brows. Their hair is auburn, and rarely worn long enough to braid- though oft-times the older Dwarves among them will decorate their beards with braids and clasps. The Clan-members are slightly less broad and stocky than most Dwarves, but are still possessed of barrel-like torsos and powerful arms well-suited to the hardy professions. Their ears are slightly leaf-shaped- a peculiarity which some believe results from a far Elven ancestor. Mention this to a member of the Clan, however, and you may swift find yourself a few teeth lighter. While some are grim, prideful, and solemn, they are seldom evil-hearted, and cruelty does not come naturally to them except in the rarest of cases. They are possessed of a fortune to rival those of the richest clans and individuals upon the Isles, and as such the Emberhorns are somewhat more inclined to display Urguan’s Curse than others. Even still, the Clan will often be willing to help those in need, and charity is common and encouraged.
There is only one line of the Clan at present, that of Hodfair, though it is believed that there may be others which have not yet returned to the Kingdom of Dwarves. Dwed of this blood bear all of the earmarks of Mountain Dwarves, but are not purely such- as stated above, it is quite likely that the Clan had an Elf in its ancestry, and even more-so that the Clan interbred extensively with Forest Dwarves. Their affinity towards their slightly leaner build and willingness to welcome their forest-dwelling kin into their clan is testament to this.
They dress in tones of green, brown, and other natural colours, preferring to stay away from brighter shades and considering them needlessly garish. They often ornament themselves with gold to some degree, with many wearing engraved golden clasps and jewelry in their beards. This also translates to their armour, which is traditionally enameled green and gold like so:
The Stones of
+= Tumun’zahar =+
Much of what is known today of the history of Clan Emberhorn finds its origins in the revered Tumun’zahar Stones, which were partially deciphered soon after the family's re-emergence in Axios. A series of seven stone-carved tablets, they appear to have been created around the year 800 by a skilled mason who used the moniker ‘the Keeper’. Of these stones, the first three detail the genesis of the Clan, and the last four various tales and stories of their exploits. Together compiled, they form the Song of Tumun’zahar, which is held in regard above all other relics of the family- though it was not always so, and a few of the stones (primarily the first few in the series) bear a great deal of wear and damage due to being at one point used as paving material.
A central focus of the epic is the eponymous Citadel Tumunzahar, known also as ‘Hollowbold’ in the Common Language. Said to have been constructed some thousand years ago by Dwarves fleeing an unnamed cataclysm (possibly a dragon,) it nestled among mountain peaks and was possessed of a vast underground system of natural caverns. Precious little is known of this burg save its name and reputation for tremendous beauty, for the Stones which regard its construction are among the most damaged. To further cloud the matter, the stories that are translated have a tendency to conflict in the location, structure, and size of the settlement. This has led some to believe that the “city” is actually several cities, spread out over a long period of time, and that the Song of Tumunzahar is simply a retelling of much older stories.
To quote the testament of the late Hodfair I Emberhorn, who spent many years translating the Song:
“I shall tell it as it was told to me, many centuries ago, by my father- who heard it from his father, and his father from his father’s father, who had seen the glories of yore with his own eyes and beheld the founding of the great city Hollowbold, known as Tumunzahar in the Old Tongue. Carved into the side of a great and mighty mountain by myriad stonemasons, the citadel stood defiant in the face of all tribulations. By hammer, chisel, axe and shield was built upon that mount the greatest legacy of our Clan, the likes of which shall never again upon this world be seen. Such beauty there was that even the hardest of Dwarven hearts softened to see it.
But ask me not to tell of it fully, for even my own father did not know its tales but for scraps and pieces which avail us naught. Perhaps it was as they say, in days of old, or perhaps not- those secrets are lost but for the earliest of the Seven Stones, and all our will must now be bent to translating them.”
+= The Ram =+
While we know very little of the city itself, it is told that the lone mountain of which Hollowbold was carved was surrounded by verdant highlands, upon which was found wildlife diverse and varied. Among these there lived an unusually large and abundant type of mountain-ram, exceptionally woolly and twice as dangerous as the frozen moraines upon which it survived. The rams were possessed of a pelt-wool softer than any other, well-suited for garment, rug, and all manner of weaving- but perhaps more importantly, their swift cloven hooves could traverse the treacherous alpine paths better than any Dwarven pony. Their violent disposition and resistance to any sort of domestication, therefore, presented itself as an obstacle to be overcome.
A late passage in the Song of Tumunzahar tells that the dwarves of the colony attempted for many years to tame these so-called ‘Gabhar Rams’ to no avail, until the coming of a particularly lucky individual. The following excerpt from the Song details his victory over the largest animal in the herd, which led to the domestication of the species:
"He leapt forth then, this tamer mad,
whom in his hand a rope-length had,
And with this made to gabhar bind.
Lo! Ramhorn fierce, he kicked behind,
for hempen bonds behooved him not,
And dwed fell sprawling, temper hot.
He tore his beard and cried aloud,
To make return with spear he vowed.
That clamour echoed through the peaks,
There was a shattered, grinding shriek,
And moraine swift came tumbling down.
The dwed did sweat, and he did frown,
And tumbled too, as not to fall,
For snow, and ice, and boulders all,
Came quick to bear upon his heel.
He shut his eyes, his death to feel,
But instead found himself aloft,
As if by bough of tree. He coughed,
And, baring frightened eyes, beheld,
That by fair goat was he upheld.
It bounded twice, s’if borne by wind,
And as the falling glacier thinned,
It set dwarf down upon the ground,
Who reached fair up, removed its bond,
And ever since, my sons, to fore,
Gabhar and dwed, they fight no more."
Whether it be true or fanciful, this passage records the beginning of a fruitful friendship which has lasted many generations, and in many ways defined the legacy of the Clan. The ram and its horns are often used in imagery, and the family employs them in everything from warfare, to caravans of goods, to shearing their wool for weaving.
Members of the Clan who have proven themselves in war or other service to the family are said to have ‘earned their horns’, and receive the right to wear upon their helms the great spiraling antlers of the rams- a fearsome sight. Artificery, however, is not the only thing in which the rams have contributed to Clan’s culture, for they are also the inspiration of the Clan’s modern name- though it is never once mentioned outright and was never used to refer to the progenitors of the family. The passage is such, and recounts a battle against goblins late in the Song:
And in that fateful charge of auld
The dwedish clan, those brothers bold
Dealt death unto the eldritch dark,
Threw down their enemy, and hark!
From that brash clamour embers flew,
‘Pon clashing horns, and bloody dew,
which fell like rain upon the ground.
And filled was glen with death’s grim sound.
From which was gathered the name ‘Emberhorn’, and henceforth such was used to refer to the family in present times. The ram’s horns are also on the Clan’s banner, writ in gold upon a field of verdure.
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